Roof with Attic Window

Unfortunately, most homeowners have no idea what is going on in their attics because we never go to the topmost part of our homes. Yet, a common problem home inspectors encounter is inadequate attic ventilation. We spend so much time trying to insulate our house that it may seem counterintuitive to want the heat in our attic to escape, but it is crucial to a healthy home. It will also ensure that your shingles don’t prematurely curl and melt.

Without adequate ventilation, your home is at risk for:

  • Rapidly deteriorating shingles
  • Wood rot
  • Mold in your attic
  • Mildew
  • Peeling paint on your home’s exterior
  • Energy loss
  • Rusty nails,
  • Termites and carpenter ants
  • Ice dams

A Two-Pronged Solution for Attic Ventilation

These issues are the result of inadequate ventilation, so you must fix both the ventilation problem and the visible effects of that problem. If you have termites, you will need to both call an exterminator and have your attic properly ventilated.

How many vents does your home need?

The National Roofing Contractors Association recommends a ratio of 1/150, ventilation space to attic floor space. If your attic is 30 feet by 50 feet, you have 1500 square feet of attic floor space. This space is divided by 150. You would need 10 square feet of ventilation space. How much do you have? If it is less than 10, you should add some vents.

Types of Attic Vents

Powered attic fans and vents pull air out of the attic to the exterior of the house. They can be controlled by a thermostat or by a switch. There are also solar-powered options.

Passive Vents move air through your attic space using either air movement (wind) or temperature differential (heat rises). These vent systems include turbine and roof vents that you see on the peak of your roof as well as soffit vents that can are installed in the eaves and gable vents (for your gables). The big drawback to passive air vents is their inefficiency. On the hottest days, when you need them to work the most, the air is very still. And temperature currents are prolonged.

The bigger problem with your vent system

Often the biggest issue with passive vent systems is that they are blocked. It could be insulation that has been blown into the attic or something else that has gotten in the way of the airflow. If you don’t have a free pathway for air to move from the soffits to the ridge vents, the attic is going to stay hot, melting your shingles. It will collect moisture leading to mold, mildew, wood rot, and termites.

Ensure that you have sufficient venting and that nothing is blocking the vents. If you have chilly drafts in the wintertime, you may have gaps in the attic floor. These gaps should be sealed.

If you suspect you have inadequate attic ventilation, the professionals at All Craftsmen Exteriors are happy to assess your home’s roof and talk to you about what you should do next. Contact us today!